, the Supreme Council of Information & Communication Technology, is Qatar’s independent telecommunications regulator and the Government’s technology advocate and facilitator.
The Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is the ruling Emir of the State of Qatar since 1995.Sheikh Hamad was the appointed Heir Apparent of Qatar between 1977 and 1995 and at the same time Minister of Defense. In the early 1980s he led the Supreme Planning Council, which sets the Qatar's basic economic...
, established ictQATAR, in 2004, to accelerate the transformation of Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...
into an information-based society.
Under the Chairmanship of His Highness the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, ictQATAR has been invested with two authorities:
- ictQATAR is the country's independent and fair telecommunications regulator and consumer advocate. As regulator, ictQATAR is mandated to protect consumers and business from unfair practices as our country transitions to a competitive telecoms market.
- ictQATAR is the government body that supports the take-up of innovative technologies, by ensuring people of all ages and income levels are comfortable with technology. Through technology ictQATAR aims to foster citizen's involvement in important government processes.
Working with government entities, industry bodies, and commercial enterprises ictQATAR is developing and guiding initiatives in a range of sectors including e-Education, e-Business, e-Health, e-Government, Infrastructure and Information Security.
On May 10, 2010, H.H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani ratified cabinet decision no. 18 for 2010 pertaining to the implementation of e-government policies.
The decision included items stipulating that ministries and other government agencies must cooperate with the Supreme Council for Information and Communications Technology (ictQATAR) as they advance the country's e-government strategy.
The decision endorsed four specific policy areas of government-wide collaboration:
- Integration and linkage policy for common e-government systems and services.
- Hukoomi content management policy
- Documentation and registration policy in e-government services.
- ICT architecture and standards policy
With Emiree decree Law No. 36 for 2004, the Supreme Council for Information and Communication Technology, ictQATAR, was established. The legislation tasked ictQATAR with regulating information and communication technologies in Qatar and leading the creation of an advanced information community by preparing a suitable environment for infrastructure and a community capable of using information and communication technologies.
ictQATAR's role as regulator and ICT innovator was further defined by Emiree decree Law No. 34 of 2006, the official Telecommunications law.
Additional laws, bylaws, regulations and formal decisions will be developed as necessary, and announced to the public. The current publications and releases of legal documents by ictQATAR's Regulatory Authority under document library on ictQATAR website.
Recently, ictQATAR's Regulatory Authority started a series of consumer tips, on a variety of telecom issues, including mobile broadband, fixed line phone services, bundling of mobile & Internet services, International roaming, protection from spams and scams and other topics.
On August 19, 2009, ictQATAR announced the issuing of the Telecommunications Executive By-Law No. (1) of 2009, published in the Qatari Official Gazette and effective from 26 July 2009.
The Telecommunications Executive By-Law includes regulatory procedures, rules and instructions that must be followed by telecommunications service providers in Qatar, including licensees such as Qatar Telecom (QTel) QSC and Vodafone Qatar QSC.
The issuing of the Telecommunications By-Law was aimed at the development and consolidation of the legal foundation for liberalization of the telecommunications sector in Qatar, according to ictQATAR. This Executive By-Law sets out further procedures and rules necessary for the implementation of Decree Law 34 of 2006 and the Telecommunications Law.
Key areas of telecommunications regulation covered in the Executive By-Law include: Licensing
Radio spectrum management; Interconnection and access; Tariff and pricing regulation; Numbers and numbering; Competition policy; Consumer protection and fair trading;The resolution of complaints and disputes; Access to Property; and Telecommunications equipment standards and approval.
Qatar's New Numbering Plan
ictQATAR announced on March 28, 2010 that phone numbers in Qatar will be expanded from seven to eight digits, effective Wednesday July 28, 2010.
This change will address the increasing demand for both fixed and mobile phone numbers in Qatar. The new numbering plan will create an additional 36 million mobile and nine million fixed telephone numbers, surpassing the highest forecasted demand for the next 15–20 years.
ictQATAR also announced that this change to eight digit numbers will happen automatically and seamlessly on July 28, 2010 for all customers - whether Qtel or Vodafone - with no interruption of service or affect on both networks.
For both fixed and mobile users, the first digit of the number will be repeated, so that numbers that currently begin with 3 will now start with 33, those starting with 7 will now be 77. The only affected numbers will be those starting with 3,4,5,6 and 7.
All emergency telephone numbers within Qatar, including 999 and 112, will not be affected by the change. Numbers used for SMS, toll free and paging services, as well as short codes, and the numbers owned by the Ministry of Interior will also remain the same. These begin with 1, 2, 8 and 9.
For a period of three months after July 28, people who dial the current seven digit numbers will receive an automated recorded message asking them to dial again with the correct new eight digit number. The country code will not be affected by the change. International callers will simply have to dial the first digit of the subscriber's phone number twice after the '974' country code.
High-Capacity Satellite Program
ictQATAR (representing the State of Qatar) and Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) announced on May 10, 2010 the signing of a partnership agreement to invest in and operate a new high-capacity satellite at Eutelsats 25.5° East location, one of the two longstanding and anchored neighbourhoods serving fast-growing markets in the Middle East and North Africa regions.
To be launched at the end of 2012, the new satellite will provide both a significantly expanded mission and superior coverage and power across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia to follow-on from Eutelsats EUROBIRD 2 satellite, which is currently operated at 25.5° East. In addition to securing Ku-band continuity for Eutelsat and additional Ku-band resources for ictQATAR, it will initiate a Ka-band capability opening business opportunities for both parties.
On July 15, 2010, Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) and ictQATAR (representing the State of Qatar) announced that following an international consultation, Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) has been selected to build the high-performance satellite they will jointly own and operate at the 25.5° East location in geostationary orbit.
The selection of prime contractor marks the next step forward in the partnership signed in May by Eutelsat and ictQATAR to invest in and operate a high-capacity satellite at 25.5° East, one of the two longstanding and anchored neighbourhoods serving rapidly expanding markets in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia regions.
The two organisations selected Space Systems/Loral to deliver a spacecraft with a more than 15-year design life based on the Space Systems/Loral 1300 satellite bus, which is a decades-proven, modular platform with high power capability and flexibility for a broad range of applications.
Promise of e Campaign
ictQATAR announced that the "Promise of e" campaign focuses on the power of technology to enrich people's lives.
The campaign also aims to explain to the public the positive impact technology has on everyday life and the potential it holds for the future. It shows how technology improves lives across many sectors, including health, education, business and communications.
The Promise of e campaign consists of broadcast infomercials, print advertisements and a variety of events, including those for children and young people.
Hukoomi, Qatar's government online portal, is the Gateway to Government.ictQATAR announced that the portal is meant to be a resource for everyone that lives and works in Qatar, as well as those planning to visit. Through Hukoomi, users can experience the benefits of having information and services from 48 government ministries and councils in one central, easy to navigate place.
The CLICK campaign features the image of children whose parents' lives are made easier and more efficient by using Hukoomi. The advertisements stress how simple it is to use the service and the benefits the time saved will have - namely being able to spend more time with your family. "Mom got a health card" and "daddy paid the water bill" are the two e-services to be first promoted.The campaign, which will be prominently displayed throughout Qatar on billboards and road signs, will run throughout 2009 and highlight different services on a regular basis. Ads will also appear on numerous popular websites.
ictQATAR announced that its e-education program has been established for the purpose of making ICT an integral part of students' education. As part of the program, the Council also holds a number of related events that promote ICT integration in the educational process.
The Council is working to integrate ICT into the processes of small & medium enterprises (SME)s.
i-Gov is the Council's Integrated e-Government Program.
i-Gov initiatives, according to ictQATAR, aim to:
- Increase the availability, accessibility, and effectiveness of e-services to residents and businesses
- Enable an integrated and efficient government through innovative use of ICT
Improve government transparency and stimulate participation in the democratic process
Government Network Initiative
To address the need for a safe and reliable network, ictQATAR announced the creation a secure Government Network, on May 25, 2009. The Government Network initiative, being implemented by ictQATAR's i-Gov program, will allow for Qatar's government agencies to be directly linked together over a secure communications platform, allowing for improved data sharing and enhanced security for e-services.
The Government Network will standardize the connectivity between government agencies and allow them to utilize higher Bandwidths than are currently available and will also allow them to select the service levels they receive for various programs and initiatives. By providing a single connection to each government agency, the Government Network will reduce the multiple connection costs. A general Government Network catalogue of services is being developed for agencies to review and determine their requirements.
Qatar's National e-Learning Portal
On January 18, 2010, ictQATAR announced on its website the launch of its revamped Qatar National e-Learning Portal. The portal offers more than 2,500 free online courses to government employees in a variety of topics, including: business, IT, computer skills, human resources, marketing, personal development and management.
The new e-Learning Portal has an individually designed page for each government ministry and entity, allowing for customized learning to meet the needs of their specific employees. Human Resource specialists within each government entity can work with their employees to identify the appropriate courses to meet their development needs, set an achievable timeline to complete the courses and monitor progress against goals. This can be directly linked to an employee's National Development Plan.
Q-CERT, Qatar's national information security team, was created by ictQATAR to safeguard the country's information and communications systems. Q-CERT works with government agencies, businesses, and the citizens of Qatar to address cyber security risks, protect sensitive information, and ensure the safety of children on the Internet.
Cyber Safety Campaign: Keep Them Safe..Keep Them Curious
ictQATAR recently launched its "Keep Them Safe, Keep Them Curious" campaign to begin raising awareness about the need for parents to be involved in their child's online safety and to give some basic tips for how to help be more cyber smart.
In a newly launched commercial airing in cinemas, and on television and radio, a typical Qatari family is seen taking easy, smart steps to help keep their children safe online - all without squashing their curiosity. ictQATAR also has a series of advertisements on Doha's streets and various billboards to help raise awareness.
In November 2009, ictQATAR published on its website a number of cyber safety tips on the parental control software solutions that parents can use to ensure a safe online experience. The tips raised a number of questions parents need to ask before deciding on the appropriate software solution, in addition to explaining the differences between free, commercial and built-into-the-computer softwares that are available for parental control.
In the near future ictQATAR plans to watch a website dedicated to child online safety. The site will be tailored to be appealing to children, parents and teachers, with resources for each on how to be safe online.
The Qatar Computer Emergency Response Team was created in December 2006 by CERT/CC and ictQATAR. It is Qatar's coordination center in dealing with internet security problems.The goals of Q-CERT are to:...
- ictQATAR's Arabic Wikipedia page